Health

Please Don’t Give Me a Sick Day For My Period

Please Don't Give Me a Sick Day For My Period www.herviewfromhome.com
Written by Bailey Suzio

I sat, curled up on the floor breathing slowly in and out. I was trying to hold back tears, trying not to draw attention to myself but the pain broke through every thought. I had already taken prescription strength ibuprofen and another behind the counter pain killer. I was wearing lidocaine patches but, like clockwork, my monthly torment had returned. This time, it struck while I was at the office. 

For some women, their monthly visit from Aunt Flo is nothing more than an inconvenience. For others, like myself, it is 9-10 days of torment every, single month. I spend at least two days fighting tear and nausea from the extreme pain. My sleep is disturbed by 2am wake-up calls in the form of debilitating cramps. My work performance is greatly diminished. 

Italy is proposing a law that would grant women up to 3 days of paid menstrual leave per month. There are many mixed feelings on the topic. Women are not in control of their cycle, it is simply a part of life they learn to cope with. For those who experience severe pain, it seems unfair to ask them to take a personal day. 

In spite of this, I don’t think this law would have a positive impact for women in the workplace.

In the workplace, women already face the disadvantage of years of programming on a woman’s role in the office. While we have made great strides and men and women are more aware of their prejudices, this would be a step back. We would again become the weaker sex, unable to handle our workload. Women strive for equality, as they should, but taking up to 3 days a month for a women-specific issues would open a door for us to be criticized for our ability to perform at the same level of our male counterparts. 

Taking several days a month would leave us behind. While many women are regular, many are not be able to predict when they would need to take this monthly leave causing further trouble to their company and clients. We would miss meetings would be an additional burden to our coworkers and managers as they would need to fill us in. Canceling meetings with clients would reflect poorly on ourselves and our company. Everyone has the occasional sick day, but planning on regular, yet not entirely predictable, sick days every month would not be wise. This setback for the workplace every month would open the door to poorer work performance all around because of the need to play catch-up unpredictably every month. 

Thankfully, I am very fortunate. I have a flexible job and an understanding boss. If I am not feeling well, I often have the option to work remotely to stay up to date on what needs to be done. I realize this is not a luxury most have but it seems like the only realistic way forward to truly empower women to handle the demands of their body while still being competitive employees. If employers truly want to equip women to handle this issue, they would empower their employees, both male and female, to occasionally be able to work from home when the situation demands it. Allowing this option to both sexes would stop the gender divide from furthering and would strengthen their employees. 

About the author

Bailey Suzio

Bailey Suzio’s journey started out in Michigan, where she grew up as the oldest of 10 (yes, ten) children, and has led her to Hawaii with her husband and their two dogs. She has greatly enjoyed this opportunity to explore the history and culture of the Hawaiian islands. In addition to her love for the Lord and her family, her great passions are coffee and collecting an exorbitant amount of books. Bailey has spent the last few years teaching and working with a local church. She writes at http://thethinplace.net/ about her life, faith, and infertility journey.

36 Comments

  • Hmmmm, lots to think about. Luckily my “little bosses” are a little more understanding when I’m not feeling well…as long as I’m there to pick them up after school. 🙂

  • Great post with great points! Although I do need to say – ladies if you are having periods that are physically painful it is not normal but is unfortunately common. I used to have horribly painful periods until I found out that I have something called PCOS. After researching nutrition, hormonal balancing and how it all effects our monthly cycles my periods are now 5-6 days (1 1/2 days heavy and the rest light) with no cramps, headaches or nausea! When you get all of this in order physically there will be no reason to take days off from our busy schedules. Win-win!

  • This is an interesting concept… I know that it would benefit women who have painful menstrual periods.But how will it be regulated… that is my concern..

  • I think it would be awesome to have the option to take days off during your period if you need it. I understand that it could set you back, but as long as they are not mandatory, I am all for it. We work hard enough as it is, right?

  • I do think they should give women days for periods when they have health issues. That should not be reflected poorly against us and is sad that it is.

  • I am so sorry your periods are so intense! I use to get those from time to time but looks like I am back to my 4-5 suckiness okay-ish periods. Sorry this is probably TMI! It is always nice to have an understanding boss and flexible job though.

  • I remember having migraines so bad that I couldn’t work. Those were associated with the hormones that came with my period. Nothing I could do about it. I took meds but still would miss a Day a month.

  • You are very lucky to have an understanding boss! I think that’s what we should create a law about, LOL, but seriously. Human compassion is a thing but I don’t think having a law to allow you time for your period is something we need to open the doors to. I have never experienced it however I know woman who have been looked upon with sexist views because of it. That is what needs to be changed. 🙂

  • Really an interesting thought about women taking sick days for that monthly fun. ahem. In some ways, I think its a great thing that we are recognized for the medical concerns it can cause. But, not sure what my final viewpoint is. Something to think about..

  • I would actually love a sick day for my period. I can’t function on day 1, so I am pretty much useless.

  • I think it would be super helpful to get a day or two for my period. They are horrible. Men think it’s just being a “B”….but theres more to this struggle.

  • Interesting post on the idea of sick days for periods. I can see both sides to the argument and not sure I sit anywhere other than thinking it’s an interesting idea and keen to see how it works in Italy! I’m fairly certain they get between 6-8 weeks paid vacation leave a year too so sounds pretty good to me!

  • When I was younger I used to also have very painful cycles. I can see what you’re talking about I personally would love the paid days off. Of course there are some women who will probably abuse that privilege and not use it for what it’s intended for , They will use it to have an extended weekend or a day off to play hooky .

  • I have very painful periods for quite long periods of time and I agree with you. Having a day off would just create a divide and make us appear to be the ‘weaker sex’ when we are not x

  • I had painful periods growing up as a kid. I would miss school at least 1-2 times a month. After kids they did get better. If only men knew the hell our bodies go through at times.

  • I think it’s going to help those who really have difficulty when they have their period. But it’s also another hit at being a woman especially in the office where men usually tries their best to dominate.

  • I was reading about this and I was very on the fence about it as well. While it sucks and I am with you on being curled up on the floor, I don’t think extra “period sick days” would be super beneficial to women in the work place.

  • Wow, I’m not sure what I think about that. I was reading about the paid leave for periods online and I was really surprised.

  • We’re at a stage where women are starting to show what we can do and this will definitely set us back. I agree with you about it being a weakness instead of a much needed break from work.

  • I took period sick days in high school. My period was so bad, but wouldn’t ever think of it now. Really interesting read this was, I don’t think I’d take a sick day for my period working outside the home!

  • I think it’s a catch 22. I don’t want to be singled out, but at the same time I don’t want to be punished if I need to take time off for my period. I think allowing for flexibility, such as working from home might be the best solution.

  • Cramps are the worst and for some women PMS or even your period can be so debilitating. It would be nice if people were more understanding. I have found that since I switched to all natural tampons and pads that I don’t suffer as much.

  • Ah man I didn’t know this was a thing they were even discussing? I don’t agree that this is something that should be introduced – I always think – look at the years that have passed, has there been any problems? Back when there were wars and whatnot and all women had to do hard physical work, has anyone taken a day off? Nope. As someone who suffers from terrible cramps I agree with you that it would leave us in a disadvantage – not just towards the workload and men but also other women who just wouldn’t take time off. x

  • It’s such a tough choice because menstrual pain can be really bad for some but for most it isn’t that bad. 3 days off a month is a lot and like you said would definitely leave women behind. I think in our fight for equality we should limit asking for special treatment.

  • That is something new to me. All I can say is thank goodness I work from home. I don’t have to deal with this embarrassment.

  • I hate my first period I always feel sick and So hard to focus on my work all I want is to lay in my bed that’s why I need to take medicine for my dysmenorrhea

  • I am not sure how I feel about this whole issue. I would have to hear both sides. I worry, like you, that it would hinder our equality but I have been lucky to not have horrible cramps that would stop me from going into work every month.

  • We are all so different so I’m not exactly sure how I feel about this. I never have had challenges keeping me away from work monthly and now, as a work from home parent, I wish I had the ability to take sick days!

  • Ooooo this is definitely a complicated topic! I have never had any issues where I wouldn’t be able to work, then I know other girls who claim they can’t even function! We are all just so different!